Ugh, I’m a terrible pc build addict with a huge appetite for change and tinkering – I seriously can’t stop!
Anyways, I just finished putting my pc build into the Fractal Design Define Mini and I really loved it – but – it wasn’t that Mini plus I had this idea itching in the back of my head about my first SFF case, the Thermaltake Armor A30.
Now I’m the kind of person that loves a good underdog, (oxy moron?), and because of that I’ve never gotten rid of my Armor A30 case; people really beat up on this case saying that is has poor thermal management.
It’s thermal management is just fine if you’re putting sensible parts in the case and get a little creative perhaps – it’s not meant for extremely hot components, SLI or overclocking… out of the box muahahah.
I am in love with closed loop liquid coolers like the Antec 620, (which I’m sure people reading this blog have figured out by now), I also love a good challenge so I just had to try this crazy idea I had.
I recently received a bracket from DWOOD at overclock.net that allows the use of the Antec 620 cooler on my GTX 570 and I will never go back to the stock air cooler ever! I also since day one of my SFF adventures have used an Antec 620 on my Core i7 2600k so that I can overclock and keep things cool and quiet; I asked myself one day shortly after my Define Mini build – could I stuff all of that into my Armor A30 case?
I started to take a look at the A30 to see how I could modify it to fit what I wanted – two Antec 620s, after much measuring and test parts fitting I figured out how I was going to do it!
Commence the build!
I began by stripping down the entire case installing an old m-ATX board and my GTX 570 with Antec 620 liquid cooler in the case to begin test fitment.
I taped up a fan grill to begin lining up everything against the Antec 620 radiator on the inside.
I also needed to make sure the usb, esata and audio port cables wouldn’t interfere with the radiator. There were no issues with the cables but any less room and this would’ve been a lot more interesting.
More measuring for the fan holes for the push pull configuration of the Antec 620s. Yes I used a tape roll as a template for the fan holes – that’s how I roll! (pun intended!)
I then proceeded to tape everything off after using permanent marker to outline everything.
The front of the Armor A30 holds 2 x 5.25 bay drives, 2 x 2.5 drives and 2 x 3.5 drives – the mounting hardware for all of this was in the way of the dual Antec 620 placement and was going to need to be modified. My only requirement for this mounting hardware was to modify it to hold 2 x 3.5 drives for my RAID 0 configuration in my existing system; all other drives could be external as they aren’t really used all that much.
Above picture shows where rivets needed to be drilled out in order to remove the biggest bulk of the mounting hardware which was for the 5.25 drives.
The mounting hardware is now finished minus new holes that need to be drilled to mount my 2 x 3.5 hard drives, I left the front of the mounting hardware on in order to maintain some stiffness overall.
Next I started to cut out the holes on either side of the case, I attempted a couple of different Dremel bits and methods before I found that the cutoff wheel really is your friend when working with metal.
After cutting the holes out on either side it was time to take the tape off and begin de-burring and sanding all of the edges.
All of the sanding and de-burring complete I removed all of the shavings off the case and took everything back to begin the system build.
I had purchased a two hard drive silent mounting kit for the hard drives since they would be placed up against the modified mounting bracket and didn’t want to hear all the chatter they would make. I found that the rubber washers weren’t going to work for me the way they were so I cut each in half to place on either side of the mounting bracket.
Above you can see how I mounted the hard drives,this whole mounting bracket will slide right back into the stock position of the Armor A30. In the below picture I had a couple of hard drives installed for test fitment.
The old mounting bracket would’ve been hanging way too low and the radiators wouldn’t have fit.
Installing the motherboard is very easy in this case as it has a motherboard tray that slides out.
Above picture shows the two new Evercool 60mm fans I installed in the back, I switched the rear 60mm fans to intake air rather than exhaust. With the two push pull configured radiators in the front of the case being exhaust I didn’t want to have too much exhaust and not enough intake. These Evercool fans can spin up to 4500rpms and provide ~24 CFM @ 12V so plenty of air enters the system with these even at 2000rpms and they are quiet at the rpm.
Idle temps for the CPU and GPU are fantastic and during load are still great with the CPU maxing out around 55c and GPU barely going above 45c.
Here is a quick shot of the GPU side of the case showing the final build
I will be updating with more pictures of the inside of the system, it is completely put together but my phones battery died during the process of the final build so I didn’t take anymore pictures.
I’m waiting on a fan controller from Amazon for the two GPU fans and the top 200mm fan, currently they are using a Molex to 3 x 3pin adapter that’s making my nice cable management look nasty in the side window ha-ha.